Voices Amid the Stone Trees: Historic Era Rock Art and Inscriptions of Petrified Forest National Park
Author(s): Maxwell Forton
Petrified Forest National Park is recognized for its rich fossil deposits, stunning vistas, and Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. Almost lunar in appearance, the arid landscape is often depicted and perceived as a primordial wilderness frozen in time. However, recently archaeologists have recorded and researched a range of historic era inscriptions and petroglyphs in the park’s backcountry. Despite documenting the presence of a diverse array of peoples upon this landscape, historic inscriptions are frequently regarded as "graffiti", while ancient indigenous rock art is deemed as a naturalized aspect of the Petrified Forest. This differential treatment speaks to the dehumanizing process of turning indigenous subjects into romanticized objects, while simultaneously marginalizing the voices of historic era peoples. By documenting the park’s historic petroglyphs, this project demonstrates that rather than a prehistoric wasteland, Petrified Forest is a cultural landscape riddled with the signatures and artwork of over a thousand years of human interaction.
Cite this Record
Voices Amid the Stone Trees: Historic Era Rock Art and Inscriptions of Petrified Forest National Park. Maxwell Forton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441493)
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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;